News & Articles

Huge success for inaugural Spectrum event

July 26, 2021
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Spectrum, a new and unique event for the financial services industry has proven to be a huge success, say organisers and key stakeholders.

The 2021 Spectrum conference focused on strategic level discussions on various topics by senior members of the Ministry of Financial Services, CIMA, the DITC and industry. The inaugural event was held at the Kimpton Seafire Resort on Thursday July 22, and was attended by over 200 industry professionals.

“I don’t believe I could have asked for a better inaugural launch of this concept”, said Paul Byles Director of FTS and founder of the event.

“The panels covered a wide range of topics and we had a full day of very interesting and lively discussions”, he added.

Byles also gave credit to the Honourable Andre Ebanks, Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, for the ministry’s participation.

“I thank Minister Ebanks not only for agreeing to partner with FTS on this inaugural event, but more importantly,for his leadership and participation on the day. It’s been quite a few years that anyone has witnessed a cabinet minister sitting through an entire day of proceedings outside parliament. It was great to see that level of vested interest in the various topics being discussed” added Byles.

Byles explained that Spectrum is a new initiative focused on 4 key areas; namely, strategic output, thought leadership, promotion and networking and global presence, all aimed at benefiting the financial services industry and its stakeholders.

Minister Ebanks said the event proved very valuable. “I was impressed with the level of engagement displayed by the various stakeholders ranging from government to regulators and the private sector.

I am looking forward to working with all stakeholders as we bring our collective efforts together with the aim of crafting a strategy to ensure that our financial services industry benefits Caymanians for future generations”.

“Participation in Spectrum 2021 was one of a number of key components in my ministry’s approach to consulting with stakeholders and we will now move forward to further engage and collaborate with everyone towards our common goal,” he added.

Spectrum extends thanks to the event’s title sponsor, the Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce, coffee break sponsors Dart and Loop, wifi sponsor Trident Trust, as well as Tower, Walkers, Aon and The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, for contributing to the event’s success.

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Paul Byles tells Loop about the changing shape of financial services

July 20, 2021
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These days, it seems like Paul Byles’ name is tip of tongue in every business discussion that includes the terms “change” and “innovation” — and quite understandably so. As an economist and finance professional, he has certainly stepped up to the plate, harnessing his quarter of a century of leadership in Cayman’s rapidly evolving “most important” sector at a time when financial services has been asked to do the majority of the heavy lifting on behalf of Cayman’s economy.

Byles and other industry professionals have witnessed the local financial services sector change shape over the past year. It seemed only natural, given his familiarity with the subject matter and in keeping with his other game changing pursuits, that the Director of FTS would seize this critical moment in Cayman’s history to bring the country’s financial services leaders to the drawing board.

And he wasted no time in execution.

On July 22, an incomparable spectrum of Cayman’s financial services heavy weights will congregate at the Kimpton Seafire Resort in a series of no-holds barred discussions on the medium-term future of the industry.

Byles himself will moderate an interactive panel discussion on global initiatives and the financial services industry assessment, where he will dish out the tough questions to panelists: Yolanda Banks McCoy, Director, Highwater, David Conen, Partner, KPMG, Sandra Edun-Watler, President, Cayman Islands Compliance Association and Jude Scott, CEO, Cayman Finance.

They will join other industry titans such as Premier, Wayne Panton, Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, Andre Ebanks, Ingrid Pierce, Global Managing Partner, Walkers, Colm O’Driscoll, Board Member, Cayman Islands Bankers Association, Cindy Scotland, Managing Director, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Giorgio Subiotto, Partner, Ogier, and many others, in the day-long event.

Loop Content Manager, Daphne Ewing-Chow, caught up with the founder of Spectrum, the new groundbreaking annual event that promises to fearlessly take on the most important issues surrounding Cayman’s financial services industry.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: Paul, please clarify for us, what’s the purpose of Spectrum?

Paul Byles: The idea is to create a forum that can be utilized in a variety of ways to support the financial services industry. The event is a collaboration with the Ministry of Financial Services and will enable high level strategic discussions to take place while offering some key updates and answering some important questions for the sector.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: How did you conceptualize the event? What was your thought process?

Paul Byles: To be honest I’ve spent my entire career in the financial services industry so it was second nature. The last 15 years of my career has been in governance, risk management and economics. I’ve always participated in events and forums where strategic discussions are taking place and, as an economist, that’s a space where I tend to be very comfortable and where we all need to be now more than ever. It has always been natural for me to want to see more strategic level discussions, planning and more importantly– action. Spectrum felt like the best way to do that, so here we are!

Daphne Ewing-Chow: Is Spectrum a new company or business then?

Paul Byles: No it’s not a new company; my focus on risk management and economic consulting remains the same. I would describe Spectrum more as a new initiative with a strong purpose and I’m looking forward to working with the industry in different ways.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: Do you see this new initiative expanding into other areas?

Paul Byles: For sure. It’s designed to cut across industry sectors, across borders and through a wide range of policy issues and promotional purposes. With Spectrum we can bring markets to the Cayman Islands or take the Cayman Islands to other markets.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: What has the industry response been like since Spectrum was announced?

Paul Byles: It has been amazing. I think since COVID we haven’t truly had an opportunity to come together as a sector. So the timing has worked very well. Firms in the industry have been really appreciative of the idea and many are sending their senior management to this year’s inaugural event. There are over 200 persons registered to date so I would say the general response has been excellent.Some of my overseas-based financial services clients would have also loved to attend, and we look forward to welcoming them next year once our borders have been reopened.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: The ‘look’ of Spectrum and the theme ‘shaping financial services’ feels very new and different. Was that intentional?

Paul Byles: Yes, for sure. I met with the team at Tower Marketing and described my vision for the event, and we eventually landed on a truly innovative brand representation, which was exactly what I wanted to achieve.

Daphne Ewing-Chow: You speak about taking the Cayman Islands to other markets. Any immediate plans for Spectrum?

Paul Byles: I would love to do something in New York or London that brings some of Cayman’s existing and potential clients together in the near future, but for now, I’m really looking forward to a truly successful inaugural event!

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Inaugural financial services event to bring industry experts and government officials together to focus on the jurisdiction’s strategic outlook.

June 25, 2021
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Spectrum, a new financial services conference will be launching this year with a focus on the medium term outlook for the Cayman Islands financial services industry.

The inaugural event will be held on July 22nd 2021, in partnership with the Ministry of Financial Services.  This year’s Spectrum will feature key industry experts and senior government officials in a broad-based forum which will involve discussions surrounding the opportunities and challenges facing the sector as a whole.

The event is organized by local consulting firm FTS. “With our borders closed this first event will take the opportunity to focus inward and add value by assessing how we can make our financial services industry even stronger and more sustainable over the longer term”, said Mr. Paul Byles, Director of FTS.

Newly elected Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. André Ebanks, who will be speaking at the event said, “The Spectrum conference is an ideal opportunity for senior industry stakeholders and public sector representatives to take stock and plan the future state of one of the key pillars of our economy.  I’m looking forward to a robust, forthright and forward-looking exchange of views.

“Because the Ministry considers the conference to be a stakeholder consultation event, we will take these views into account as we evaluate our current short- and medium-term plans for financial services,” Minister Ebanks said. “Government is keen to ensure that Cayman’s financial services regime meets global standards, and also provides for our local needs.”

This year’s Spectrum is aimed primarily at partners and management level staff within the financial services sector and presentations will cover the state of various sub sectors within the financial services industry as well as key policy issues such as the G7’s proposed global tax initiative and the long term regulatory outlook for the Cayman Islands.  Panel discussions will zoom in on the challenges and opportunities facing investment funds, trusts, insurance, banking and other areas.

Spectrum is an all-day event and will be held at the Kimpton Seafire Resort on July 22nd. Further information on registering or sponsoring the event can be obtained at www.spectrum.ky or by calling 345 623 6700.

About Spectrum

Spectrum is a new annual financial services conference that brings together the world’s leading industry representatives, innovators and commentators with international governance and regulatory bodies and their representatives to; discuss global issues and opportunities impacting the financial services industry and; promote the benefits of International Financial Centers (IFCs) and international financial services to the global economy.

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Developers, realtors offered AML seminar

June 22, 2021
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Read below an article from Cayman News Service.

A number of financial service experts have created an anti-money laundering (AML) seminar designed for people in real estate and development to help them understand the risks and vulnerabilities of their sector and the need for them, just like financial institutions, to know their clients. The question of the property sector’s vulnerability to financial crime is an issue of concern.

In the face of runaway development on Grand Cayman, there appears to be a significant amount of real estate sales to overseas investors before projects are completed or without these buyers ever seeing the property they are investing in. As a result, alarm bells have been ringing about whether developers and real estate agents here are able to cope with the complex compliance required.

Paul Byles, Director of FTS, who has worked in the compliance and risk management sector for the past 15 years, will be joined by the Department of Commerce and Investment’s head of Compliance and Enforcement, Claudia Brady, as well as lawyers Huw Moses and Linda DaCosta from HSM to present the workshop.

“Real estate compliance encompasses every aspect of a property transactions and the regulations are evolving each year,” said Byles. ‘It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep up with the laws that govern dealing in real estate whether you are an agent, owner/broker, banker, attorney or other staff member handling the transactions.”

Speaking to CNS recently Victoria Templeman, who heads the Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations (CIBFI), said that Cayman’s development community is a weak link in the local anti-money laundering regime, and outreach to this sector is part of the plan to cut that risk.

The DCI is now responsible for ensuring that the real estate sector is compliant, and Brady said she will be offering insight into the way the industry is regulated to assist realtors and developers with their day to day risk management.

“The DCI is continuously finding ways to better educate all its licensees on best practice measures to assist them in managing risks in the real estate sector and we are looking forward to the opportunity to do so at this seminar,” Brady said.

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Minister Ebanks at CYDEC 2021: investment in innovation to get to most vulnerable

June 11, 2021
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Read the below coverage on CYDEC’s conference published by Loop Cayman.

Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, and of Investment Innovation, and Social Development, Andre Ebanks, recently announced that the vision of the PACT government is to ensure that investment in innovation makes its way throughout Cayman society, from the most privileged to the most vulnerable.

This statement was made at the fourth annual Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CYDEC), hosted virtually by FTS, on June 3. The successful event had 130 registrants.

This year’s theme focused on how digitisation can help Cayman to  preserve and enhance its position as one of the world’s most successful international financial centres, one of the most attractive tourist destinations and one of the most COVID-safe countries both in the global market and locally, for the benefit of Caymanians.

Featured topics included: cryptocurrencies, Cayman’s new digital ID, the pros and cons of digital currency, digitisation of the KYC process and a keynote international speech on the global digital revolution.

The annual conference was brought to the virtual platform following last year’s COVID restrictions. Following 2020’s online success, and the opportunity it creates for international speakers and delegates, CYDEC has remained on-screen for its second year. 

Minister Ebanks launched the event and introduced this year’s theme: Putting Cayman on the digitisation track.

He described the Cayman Islands’ future as extraordinarily bright in this space. Touching on social development, he said: “The overall vision of this government is to ensure that investment in innovation not only assists those who are well-off, but also the most vulnerable in society.”

He also discussed Cayman’s preparedness for technological development. “There are of course global challenges but we are well poised to meet these challenges – as we have done in the past,” he said.

Director of FTS and CYDEC Founder, Paul Byles, was delighted with this year’s turnout. The local economist is passionate about Cayman fully immersing into the digital revolution.

“The purpose is to show how digitisation can help to improve various aspects of our lives. It’s also about putting the Cayman Islands on track; most developed countries have had formal institutional structures in place to foster technological innovation and awareness in this area for years,” said Byles.

Keynote speaker, James Alexander delivered an address about the transition toward an equitable, carbon neutral, nature positive society. The co-founder of #voiceoftheplanet and director at Future Agenda shared his insights as a foresight, strategy and innovation consultant – presenting “Global trends in digitization. How it started, how it’s going.”

Another global perspective was brought by Caribbean Economist, Marla Dukharan. She highlighted that Cayman already has the foundation in place to lead in the area of technology, within both government and the private sector – particularly concerning digital currency services. Listing some of the benefits she said, “Digitising government services means fiscal savings, increased collections of government, and new and improved efficiency in the deployment of public spending.”

Ian Tibbetts, Director of eGovernment, Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, delivered key insights around Cayman’s proposed digital register and national ID card – planned to go before Parliament in 2021. He took the audience through the concept and its benefits, using the success of Estonia’s similar programme as a case study.

Tibbetts described the government’s digital identity programme as fundamentally empowering people to securely participate in the digital society.” When discussing the initiative’s timeline, he said “the bills and regulations are being drafted for the various consultations with the aim of going to Parliament later this year”.

The international speakers were joined by local industry experts:

Petri Basson, of HASH Consulting and Chairman of the Blockchain Association; Paul Byles, CYDEC Conference Founder and Director of FTS; Oliver Close, Vice President of Active Investments at DART; Justin Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO of Veriblock; Adam Lambert, Managing Director at ZIMTRA; Blair Lilford, Founder of SALT Technology Group; Ian Tibbetts Director of eGovernment, Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, and Ryan Watson, Vice President of IT at Brave.

Tammi Sulliman, Senior Manager, News & Content at Dart was Master of Ceremonies for the third consecutive year.

Launched in 2018 as the first conference of its kind in the Cayman Islands, CYDEC has become a highly anticipated signature event in Cayman. The first CYDEC event in 2018, inspired Byles to launch the ‘Digital Cayman’ industry body.

The success of this annual event has contributed to the continued growth and development of the digital industry in Cayman.

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Caribbean IFCs: Challenges And Future Prospects In 2021

May 25, 2021
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Please see below article, written by Paul Byles, Director of FTS, for IFCReview.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the largest negative impact on the world economy in decades and the Caribbean IFCs were no exception. But while the pandemic brought their tourism sectors to a standstill, growth in financial services and the global scrutiny tied to it did not miss a beat.

Three key initiatives continued to present both risk and opportunities to Caribbean IFCs; namely; Financial Action Task Force/Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (FATF/CFATF) mutual evaluations, economic substance, and beneficial ownership. Developments in the digital economy onshore also presents some additional opportunities.

FATF/CFATF – It’s Now About ‘Effectiveness’

The emphasis on all jurisdictions, over the past four to five years in particular, is on how well they have implemented the FATF’s global standards. That means looking at the extent to which each country has an ‘effective’ anti-money laundering (AML) and countering of financing and terrorism regime (CTF). The process includes examining both the jurisdictions’ technical compliance (e.g., examining the laws and formal framework in place) as well as its overall effectiveness (e.g., looking at areas such as enforcement actions taken).

Like many of the mainstream Caribbean IFCs, Bermuda’s most recent Mutual Evaluation report, which was carried out by the CFATF, demonstrated that the jurisdiction was compliant with 39 of the FATF’s 40 recommendations. Key recommendations focused on the need for its industry to improve understanding of suspicious reporting obligations, enhance risk rating methodologies, and adding resources towards beneficial ownership regime in part for monitoring purposes. 

A similar evaluation of The Bahamas in 2017 demonstrated that the jurisdiction was compliant or partially compliant with 39 of the FATF’s 40 Recommendations. Key recommendations were to address gaps in legal provisions in several areas as well as to complete its national risk assessment; address gaps in its targeted financial sanctions; enhance risk-based supervision for certain sectors such as gaming and securities; and improve its administrative arrangements to oversee and monitor the country’s AML/CFT regime. A follow up report in 2018 by the CFATF demonstrated that the Bahamas has significantly improved in many of the areas of recommendations.

The latest follow up for the Cayman Islands demonstrated that the jurisdiction had satisfied 60 of the 63 FATF previously recommended actions and was being compliant or largely compliant with the 39 of the 40 FATF recommendations. Two outstanding areas related to the jurisdiction’s need to improve in the area of sanctions on financial institutions for AML breaches and to demonstrate penalties for those who do not provide accurate, up-to-date beneficial ownership information. The country was placed under increased monitoring until it addresses these two recommendations and is already well on the way to addressing them.

The threat to these Caribbean IFCs and others in the region is that over the past decade and increasingly so, international correspondent banking has become less accessible to jurisdictions which have been publicly identified by global standard setting bodies as having deficiencies in their AML/CFT frameworks. In some cases, the potential negative economic impact of the sheer reputational exposure is greater than the actual risks to their financial sectors due to the deficiencies raised. Reports of poor assessments simply makes it more challenging for institutions based in the respective jurisdiction to do business.

Because of the reputational dynamics, there is a genuine opportunity for jurisdictions which meet the global standards to distinguish themselves as being more credible jurisdictions in which to do business. Irrespective of the legitimate debate surrounding whether these standards are being applied equally across onshore and offshore jurisdictions, this reputational benefit remains.

Economic Substance

Economic substance legislation was forced on IFCs by the European Union over the past three years. The initiative originated in the late 1990s with a focus on EU member states but was eventually extended to so-called 3rd countries such as Caribbean IFCs. The initiative is tax related and its basic purpose is to prevent clients from using structures in the jurisdiction which accrue profits which do not reflect real economic activity carried out in the country.

The EU published a list of non-cooperating countries and several countries were ‘grey listed’, meaning they had made commitments to address the deficiencies in their legislative frameworks within a certain period to avoid being ‘blacklisted’ later.

By early 2019, several Caribbean IFCs including BVI, Bermuda, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands had established economic substance laws in their jurisdictions which impacted their financial services industries.

On the one hand, economic substance presents an opportunity for jurisdictions to benefit from additional ‘bricks and mortar’ presence by international companies, leading to additional government revenues, jobs, and broader economic impact.

But there is also the threat of losing some company incorporations if the requirements are too burdensome which would result in a negative economic impact. Ultimately, the cost benefit analysis and associated economic impact depends on the nature of the entity and circumstances. What can be said thus far is that since the initiative has been rolled out in the various jurisdictions, there has been no obvious or material negative fallout reported. In fact, company registrations continue to grow in most jurisdictions.

There is a real opportunity for jurisdictions to target both existing and new international companies (including, for example, investment managers) to set up a physical presence in IFCs to benefit their domestic economies.

Beneficial Ownership Registries

Under pressure partly from the UK, some  IFCs in the region which are British Overseas Territories have already established a central registry of beneficial ownership of companies. The registers enable law enforcement to access information on the ultimate owners of each company and this information is also accessible by UK law enforcement.

The primary concern before implementation was that public access to the information might signal to legitimate clients that there is no longer financial privacy. While this may still remain a concern, there has been no evidence that jurisdictions have lost business as a result of introducing the registries.

IFCs, FinTech And Digital Currencies

Traditional challenges aside, perhaps the greatest mix of opportunities and threats facing OFCs relates to the digital revolution that has been taking place over the past decade. FinTech, RegTech, and the use of new technologies are taking place at varying pace across both developed and less developed countries. There is a certain sense of inevitability about many of these initiatives; while countries like China and the US are the current leaders, many other countries are being pushed to quickly adapt to the new environment.

The use of FinTech is already on display in many Caribbean IFCs as companies have adopted it as a standard part of their operations. Core banking systems, for example, are now seamlessly incorporating FinTech and RegTech systems where more efficient due diligence, transactions monitoring, and automated reporting are just a few of the value added outputs in the new operating environment.

The opportunities for IFCs in this area are numerous. Not only can they benefit from the efficiency gains by the financial institutions operating within their markets, which fuels growth and more jobs, but the jurisdiction can attract new types of clients in this new era.

Companies in the digital sector value data protection and protection of their ideas and both of these are ideally suited to the IFC environment. Many IFC frameworks have strong data protection plus trademark and patent laws within a generally strict regulatory environment influenced, in large part, by the presence of their financial services sectors.

The wide range of technology companies operating in the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone is just one example of the models that can be deployed to benefit from the growth in these areas. Bermuda is another example of an IFC that is very receptive to tech companies, being among the first to introduce legislation to facilitate the new sectors.

IFCs’ Future In The Medium Term

As we have seen from the constant global regulatory and tax pressures, despite COVID-19 IFCs will continue to face scrutiny. Whether that scrutiny is ‘fair’ or not, the key focus for IFCs must be to be agile enough to make the adjustments in a way that minimises harm to their economies. The evidence of the past decade offers some robust proof that despite all the changes to the regulatory regimes, much of which was expected to discourage growth of their financial services sectors, IFCs have continued to thrive.

While financial centres both on and offshore will continue to be abused by bad actors, the continued growth, in particular of the main IFCs, demonstrates that they continue to add legitimate value to clients under a strict regulatory framework.

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A closer look at CYDEC in its 4th year

May 14, 2021
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Now in its 4th year, we take a look at the purpose and early achievements of CYDEC-Cayman’s first digital economy conference.

CYDEC was conceived in 2018 by Paul Byles, local economist and financial services expert and director of FTS — the company that organises the event.

“The objective was to find a way to keep the Cayman Islands community abreast of technological development globally and how those changes might impact us. Economies everywhere are increasingly digitized, which is impacting our economic and social lives immensely,” says Byles.

CYDEC is purposely not focused solely on topics such as ‘blockchain’ or ‘cybersecurity’ but about all aspects of digitisation in the economy. This year, for example, the event is taking a closer look at the evolution of national currencies being digitised and what that means for the Cayman Islands. Previous events also looked at the role of technology in healthcare and education.

But Byles, who is also a former Chamber of Commerce president, makes it clear that the event is also not just for members of the business community.

“Digitisation is already impacting our youth, education system and how healthcare is delivered. It’s critical that we are constantly addressing developments impacting all areas of lives,” he adds.

True to its original purpose, the CYDEC event has already led to the creation of Digital Cayman, a new industry body focused on awareness and policy advocacy in the area of technological innovations.

“Digital Cayman was an idea that I presented at the inaugural CYDEC breakfast forum which is a private session we hold the day after the main CYDEC event to discuss policy issues impacting the Cayman Islands. In 2018, I proposed a concept of a new industry body dedicated to digitisation and worked closely with Mr Charlie Kirkconnell of CEC and several other stakeholders to create Digital Cayman. That was a great discussion and we had several local and international speakers and representatives of the Ministry of Financial Services in attendance at that first breakfast forum,” Byles says.

Digital Cayman was legally formed in late 2019 and after a bit of COVID-19 disruption in 2020, is now in the process of sourcing its membership. Byles says he expects the organisation to really hit the ground running later this year as they implement various initiatives focused on education and policy advocacy.

“The purpose is on how digitisation can help to improve the various aspects of our lives. It’s also about putting the Cayman Islands on track; most developed countries have had formal institutional structures in place to foster technological innovation and awareness in this area for years, ” he adds.

This year CYDEC features topics on cryptocurrencies, Cayman’s new digital ID, the pros and cons of a national digital currency, digitisation of the KYC process and a keynote international speaker on the global digital revolution.

Each of these topics will also be accompanied by various panels of experts.

This year’s event is being held virtually and takes place on June 3, from 9am to 12:30pm. Registration is available at www.cydec.ky 

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Virtual CYDEC 2021 conference focused on putting Cayman on the digitization track

April 19, 2021
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The fourth annual Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CYDEC), hosted by FTS, will take place online on 3rd June 2021 from 9am to 12:30pm.

Originally launched in 2018 as the first conference of its kind in The Cayman Islands, CYDEC has become the most anticipated digital event in the community calendar. The virtual event offers the opportunity to engage with global technology experts in cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and blockchain, discussing the risks and benefits of digital currency.

Each year, the conference showcases cutting edge ideas and applied technological advancements for forward thinking leaders in both the private and public sectors.  The Digital Cayman industry body was launched as result of the first CYDEC conference.

This year’s conference is focused around how the Cayman Islands can fully immerse itself into the digital revolution. International and local speakers will examine the biggest digital trends, discussing how one of the world’s most successful international financial centres, one of the most attractive tourist destinations, one of the most COVID-safe countries in today’s world, can not only join but succeedin digitising its economy.

The agenda will be relevant to business leaders across: financial services, tourism, technology, and the public sector. Compliance officers, enterprise risk managers, and CEO’s will also benefit from these discussions and innovations.

“We are looking forward to another great event this year. COVID 19 has put digitisation at the forefront of our daily lives and this year’s theme aims to help push Cayman forward in the areas of innovation and technology”, said Paul Byles CYDEC founder.

Global industry leaders, renowned international speakers and local technological figureheads will be sharing their expertise on the panel of this year’s event. Guest speakers and moderators include: Co-Founder and CEO of Veriblock, Justin Fisher, Chief Economist at BITT, Marla Dukharan, Independent Director at Hash Consulting, Petri Basson, Senior Manager, News & Content at Dart, Tammi Sulliman, Director of Future Agenda, James Alexander, Director of IT & Infrastructure at Brave Software Intl. SEZC, Ryan Watson, and Managing Director of Cayman Enterprise City’s ZIMTRA, Adam Lambert; among others.

The CYDEC 2021 conference is proudly partnered with the following sponsors: Cayman Tech City, Zimtra, Veriblock, Cayman Islands Government, Tower and Chamber of Commerce.

Early bird tickets are available at a 10% discounted rate, for a limited time only. Tickets are available at www.cydec.ky at a cost of $112.50 per person.

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Local experts combine for key AML training session: Includes updates to Cayman’s anti-money laundering framework over past 12 months

November 6, 2020
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Two of the country’s best-known experts on the Cayman Islands’ anti-money laundering framework have united to offer a refresher training session for the local compliance and risk management industry, Thursday, 25th November, 9am to 12:30pm.

Ms Angele Mele, Founder of RiskPass AML+Compliance Ltd. and Mr Paul Byles, Director of FTS, are former regulators of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and have worked in the compliance and risk management sector for the past 15 years. This key training session offers the rare opportunity for attendees to learn from both speakers on the various changes to the country’s anti-money laundering regime.

“The purpose of the session is not only to provide an overview of recent legislative and regulatory updates but also to identify the changes that local compliance experts and directors need to incorporate into their existing systems, to be compliant,” Paul Byles, Director of FTS and organiser of the seminar said.  

Ms Mele will present on the topics of ‘Proliferation Financing’ and ‘Extensions to the Risk-based Approach,’ while Mr Byles will address ‘Targeted Financial Sanctions’ and ‘Transaction Monitoring.’ The seminar will be held on the Zoom platform and will include two breakout sessions and an online test. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion.

“We thought it would be timely to hold a session focusing on material updates since late 2019 and outline how these changes can be added into an existing framework,” Ms Mele said.

Mr Byles said that while some local professionals will be aware of the changes, it’s not always the case that they have incorporated necessary updates into their existing systems and procedures.

“Being aware of the changes and getting to the stage where you have fully incorporated them are two very different things,” he said. “The approach taken with this training session is to pinpoint the areas where changes need to be made and explore how these changes can be incorporated. I am hoping this is where we will be able to add value for compliance professionals.”

The session will be carried out via Zoom on Thursday, November 25th, from 9am to 12:30pm. Persons can sign up at www.ftscayman.com./events.

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AML Steering Group highlights significant progress to date

November 3, 2020
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As the Observation Period by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) came to a close on October 23rd, Cayman’s Anti Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG) highlighted 10 key milestones which the Cayman Islands has achieved to date. Key highlights include:

  • An updated National AML/CFT Strategy 2019-2022, which was published in September 2019.
  • Targeted AML/CFT risk assessments conducted in 2019 and 2020 which covered; terrorist financing, SIBL Excluded Persons (EPs), the Special Economic Zone, NPOs and the International Financial Centre.
  • Officially forming the Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations (part of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service).
  • Creation of a new subscription service by the FRA which allows the receipt of sanction notices when they have been issued. 
  • Official AML/CFT supervision of SIBL EPs by CIMA bringing those entities fully into the local AML framework as well as a new division within CIMA focused on AML/CFT supervision.
  • Enhancing the supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professionals (DNFBPs) including attorneys, accountants and realtors, through additional guidance, sector outreach, risk assessments and onsite inspections.
  • Since October 2019, company directors’ names (including alternate directors) and managing members of limited liability companies (LLC) have been publicly available from the Registrar of Companies. Since October 2020, further information including authorised share capital is also publicly available. Legislation was also updated regarding legal arrangements, formalising a trustee’s AML/CFT/CPF responsibilities and allowing government agencies, law enforcement and competent authorities the mechanism to request information from a trustee.
  • A strategic analysis carried out by the FRA which improved Cayman’s understanding of the risk it faces.

A release from the AMLSG explained that the Cayman Islands is now moving into the next phase of the process, where the FATF will determine whether sufficient progress has been made and the final outcome on that regard will likely be determined in February 2021.
FTS Director Paul Byles says some of the feedback suggesting some of the measures taken have gone too far is reasonable but that the issue is also partly about reputation management which remains important.

“A lot of resources have been deployed by both the private sector and the government to ensure that the jurisdiction meets these standards. And the industry is correct to point to this as a significant burden. But in the end its also important to recognise that these initiatives have a direct impact on the reputation of the jurisdiction and that local financial services providers are negatively impacted if the jurisdiction ends up on the wrong side of any global assessments,” says Byles.

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